Sabine rushed quickly to the airport and booked a flight for Lagos the next day. The anger that had simmered in her chest for five years now was a roaring inferno. She could barely see straight as she drove back home to the village. Her head kept ringing with what she had discovered at the hospital that morning. She thought of the shame, the insinuations and direct insults she bore then and is still bearing now as a result of that night of the party. Then she burst into tears. She drove to the side of the express and stopped the car. She wept and wept, hitting the steering wheel with both fists.
“Was it a crime to love a man enough to want to do anything to please him? Brume wanted me out of his life, he had to resort to destroying my image to do that? God! What did I do wrong? Who did I offend? Aunt Chidera says I should forgive and forget. How can I forgive this? How can I forget this? Where’s Jessica? She will lead me to her boyfriend.” She thought to herself as the tears gushed out her eyes in a deluge.
She soon sobered down after some minutes. She brought out her handkerchief and wiped her eyes then she started her car and drove on. Immediately she got home, she packed her and Tochukwu’s bags and told her mother that they are going back to Lagos.
Femi sat back and stared at the phone. “Is this a good thing? Sabine and Brume together? She was not supposed to know that I and Brume had any connection o. Hope I have not spoilt things o. who cares sef? Whether she finds out or not, am getting paid. If Brume doesn’t fall, then somebody else will. There are so many ways to catch a fish. I need a proper drink.” He thought to himself as he got up to go get dressed.
He was soon out of the house. He boarded a bike to the junction and from there he took a taxi, giving the man directions to an old haunt of his in the days when he was flush with cash. The bartender there was a friend.
“I hope the madman is still there o. I don’t have money for shots o.” he thought to himself as he got to the Lounge. He walked in and stopped a waiter.
Femi: “hello, good day. I am looking for Tunde. A tallish guy, dark complexioned with a mark on his forehead.” He asked politely.
The waiter looked at him, pointed to the bar and walked away. Femi looked towards the bar and saw his old friend. He rushed over to him, a smirk on his face.
Femi: “Baba Tunez!” he hailed, smiling.
Tunde: “ha! Femolala! Ha! When you fall in?” he asked, laughing excitedly.
Femi: “I don dey small. How you dey now? You just dey here dey chill o. una do renovation? The place looks different o.” he said looking around.
Tunde: “yes o. you know say my boss don die na. he died two years ago. His first son now runs the place. He had been abroad for a while so he is trying to bring the flavour from over the seas down here.” He replied enthusiastically.
Femi: “I dey feel am. Its making sense. Give me some shots na. Your guy never balance o but no worry, money dey come.” He said, still smiling.
Tunde: “a whole you? No matter sha. You be my man. i know say as you show so, better dey.” He replied, putting a shot glass in front of Femi and pouring whiskey into it.
Femi downed it in one gulp and grimaced. He placed the shot glass back on the table and motioned for another round. Tunde obliged him and he downed that one two.
Femi: “I get level lined up o. the level never take shape yet sha. I still dey look all the angles. You remember that level wey we run for that my friend about five years ago? That fine girl wey you come carry go house na, while I dey blast her friend for one side?”
Tunde: “that girl wey Castro bullet?” he asked laughing and nodding his head.
Femi: “yes…that one. That matter don ripe o. I wan package level wey we go take chow wella. Omo where Castro sef? How e dey? He go good for this job o.” he suddenly asked.
Tunde: “guy, Castro just disappear o. one day we dey club dey chill, normal life. The next moment we no see am again. Since that day, I never use eye take see am. Those wey don see am once once say he dey well but whether he don repent or something.” He replied, shaking his head.
Femi: “I for like make e dey for this level but no wahala. Give me another shot joor. Money dey come.”
The two of them laughed as Femi downed the third shot. The day was going well.
Anita watched Brume open his eyes. He smiled on seeing her and tried to move. He grimaced when he felt the pain around his ribs. Anita drew her chair closer to him.
Anita: “how are you baby?” she asked, concernedly. Brume nodded his head.
Anita: “do you need anything? Water?” she asked. Brume nodded.
She went to the table by the bed and poured water into a cup for him. She raised the bed by pressing the lever button. The bed raised to a sitting position. Then she put the rim of the cup on his lips and bent it. Brume took little sips of water slowly then he stopped. She returned the cup back to the table.
Anita: “Femi called.” She said looking closely at Brume.
She saw Brume’s eyes widen in fear. “Yes, there is something going on here but this is neither the time nor the place.” she thought to herself as she made to arrange the coverlet properly around Brume.
Anita: “get better first. We will talk then. We will talk about Femi and Sabine and any other thing that you have been keeping from me. For now, work hard at getting better.” She said quietly, her eyes on the coverlet she was folding precisely over his chest.
She looked suddenly at Brume and saw him looking at her like a cornered rat. She smiled and kissed him on the lips.
Chidera called her sister-in-law. She had not been able to make her brother’s burial due to ill health. They spoke on the burial and on her people’s reaction to her brother’s will. They laughed over the way her brother had deprived them of their gluttonous plans with the help of the lawyer.
Mrs Ogbonna: “that Barr. Brume Nikoro is a good man. I tell you. You need to see the way he spoilt their plans. The whole room went silent and Sabine started laughing at them. It was hilarious, I tell you.” She said, laughing at the memory.
Chidera: “Auntie, did you say Barr. Brume Nikoro was at your house?” she asked, a stab of fear in her heart.
Mrs Ogbonna: “yes… why?” she asked slowly.
Chidera: “Jesus. Where is Sabine?” she asked quickly.
Mrs Ogbonna: “she just got back from the hospital. Brume had an accident so she went to check on him. She just got back now. It strange, she’s suddenly decided to leave for Lagos tomorrow. We had planned to spend the weekend here. She was even going to take Tochukwu along but i refused. Let me spend time with my grandchild abeg.” She replied.
Chidera: “auntie, please go with Sabine to Lagos. Brume used to be Sabine’s ex-boyfriend. It is possible that he is the father of Tochukwu. I don’t want them entangling again. He wasn’t good for her the first time and he won’t be any good for her now. This one that she has seen him again so…”
Mrs Ogbonna: “he is married…” she replied, worried.
Chidera: “so? when has that stopped anybody?” she retorted.
At that moment, Sabine came into her mother’s room. Mrs Ogbonna quickly ended the call and looked at her daughter.
Mrs Ogbonna: “are you in love with Barr. Brume?” she asked out of the blue, her eyes pinning Sabine to her seat.
Sabine looked at her mother in surprise then she burst into laughter. She laughed hard, tears streaming down her face then she stopped
Sabine: “What I want from Brume mummy dear, is not love. No, not all.” She replied, her lips were smiling but her eyes were as cold as ice.
Question: Do you think Sabine is equipped to deal someone as cunning and stone-hearted as Femi?
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